Selig’s Tropical Jungle Zoo

Alone in the Jungle
R: Colin Campbell. B: Otto Breitkreutz. D: Tom Santschi, Bessie Eyton, Frank Clark, Lillian Hayward, Wheeler Oakman, Eddie James. P: Selig Polyscope Company (William Nicholas Selig). USA 1913
Print: EYE
Dutch titles

“The Brown family, which consists of Hon. John Brown, his wife, two sons, Harold and Billy, and a young sister named Helen, has settled on an isolated plantation in the Jungles. Jack Arden, son of another English planter, who comes over frequently to hunt with the boys has fallen in love with Helen. But Papa Brown discourages the lovers, saying that Helen is too young to be married. Jack agrees to wait. Some time afterward the Browns receive a letter from Jack stating that he is coming for another week-end of shooting- with the Brown boys. On his way to the Brown’s home, Jack knocks down Concho, an overseer, for being cruel to one of the slaves. His action is approved of by the Browns. In honor of Jack the family starts on a lion hunt, and, after a long trip, they return by the river route. They espy a lioness drinking at the river’s edge. She is killed by Jack and taken aboard. That night Jack again asks Mr. Brown for Helen’s hand and is again told to wait. The next day when Jack is going away, Helen, unknown to anyone else, accompanies him a little way into the jungle. (…)”
Moving Picture World synopsis

William N. Selig was an important film producer in the early days of the motion picture industry. A Chicago-born magician, he began his film career in 1895 after he saw a Dallas vaudeville hall demonstration of Thomas Edison’s Kinetoscope while he was running a travelling minstrel show. Returning to Chicago, he had a projector devised by dissembling and duplicating the Lumière Cinematographe. Working with a machinist, he patented the Selig Standard Camera and the Selig Polyscope, and incorporated his equipment business, a motion-picture studio and a film processing plant as the Selig Polyscope Company in 1896. Within a few years, Selig’s Chicago-based company became the largest filmmaking plant in the United States. At his studio on the city’s outskirts, he produced westerns, adventure films, and melodramas utilizing both indoor and outdoor filmmaking. Among the people he trained was G. M. (“Broncho Billy”) Anderson, who worked as an actor and director for Selig from 1905 to 1907 and then formed a rival company (Essanay) with Chicago businessman George Spoor.
Selig was among the first movie producers who considered Los Angeles as a versatile moviemaking location. After sending crews there for two years, he opened a permanent Los Angeles studio in 1909. The studio became particularly important for his business when, in 1909, President Theodore Roosevelt would not allow a Selig cameraman to accompany his big game expedition to Africa. So Selig bought an aging lion from a Los Angeles zoo and staged his own tropical jungle hunt with a lead character named ‘Teddy.’ When the newspaper wire services announced that Roosevelt had ‘bagged’ a lion, Selig released his fictional film entitled Hunting Big Game in Africa and scored a smash hit. The film was so successful that Selig bought an entire zoo for his Los Angeles studio and began making jungle adventure films.”
Lauren Rabinovitz
Film Reference

>>> Two Selig Thrillers

>>> Theodore Roosevelt in Africa

548-Alone in the Jungle